Heart of the City stories, Vol. 1, No.1

Wilbur the shepherd-collie had been lost and cold and scared for 14 hours in -20°C temperatures when she came across Shaun Bullock and his warm truck and his big heart.

“I was out at the Horse Hills snow site that morning and saw the dog running around, and you could tell she wanted to jump into the truck and get warm,” said Bullock of that morning, December, 27, 2018.

“It was cold. She was shivering. In she jumped!”

Bullock, a Leader 2 Northeast District in the City Operations Department at the City of Edmonton, knocked on doors in the area, but couldn’t find the dog’s owner. The pooch looked hungry, so Bullock drove her back to his Northeast Yard office, stopping on the way for a can of dog food and treats.

Bullock and Wilbur warming up to each other

Bullock and Wilbur warming up to each other

“I used to have dogs,” Bullock said. “I couldn’t leave her on her own.”

Neither could Bullock’s colleague, Yardman Kody Bender, who got on Facebook and, within an hour, got a good lead on the dog’s owner.

“I’m a dog guy, too,” said Bender. “And I’ve lost a couple of dogs, and you want to know that someone out there is looking out for them and taking care of them and giving them some food and water and warmth.”

The office named the dog Wilbur. (Or, maybe, it was Wilbrrr?) They contacted animal authorities to arrange a reunion with the dog’s owner.

“We learned the dog had escaped the night before,” said Bullock. “The owner was very grateful for the care the dog got. It felt good.”

City Operations heroes, with Mayor Don Iveson, City Manager Linda Cochrane, Deputy City Manager Gord Cebryk

City Operations heroes, with Mayor Don Iveson, City Manager Linda Cochrane, Deputy City Manager Gord Cebryk

Bullock and Bender were part of group of City Operations team members commended for recent acts of going the extra mile to comfort or protect or save a fellow Edmontonian, furry or not.

“On numerous occasions over the past year, City Operations staff saw fellow citizens in trouble, and they acted,” said Mayor Don Iveson during the ceremony at City Hall on Tuesday, February 26, 2019. “In some cases, they saved lives.”

The mayor continued: “It’s people like you who make Edmonton not only a great
place to live but also to work. Thank you again for your commitment and compassion towards your fellow citizens.”

Team members were thanked for individual acts of solidarity, including protecting the life of a vulnerable citizen at a transit facility, relocating a missing resident, aiding a choking child, recognizing an unsafe citizen during the cold snap, following a perpetrator in a violent attack, being the first to offer first aid to injured strangers, rushing a colleague to the emergency room—and rescuing a dog from the cold.

They were saluted with a standing ovation from City Manager Linda Cochrane, City leaders and Councillors.

The Mayor called by name Edmonton Transit Service team members Chuck Pearson, Howard Bootsma, Michael Pawlivsky and Derek Bailey.

From Parks and Roads Services: Matthew Biggerman, Liam Smith, Cody Cullinan, Margaret Zajac, Cheryl McGeough, Reese Coleman, John Kawulok, Shaun Bullock, Kody Bender, Kevin Lamoureux and Brian Paul

From Fleet and Facility Services: Gabe Kuchinsky and Joakim Losao-Na

And from Waste Services: Lee Sinner

Gord Cebryk, who oversees the City Operations Department, said

“this shows again that behind that term ‘The City’ are individuals who care deeply for the well-being of this place and the people who bring it to life. Including Wilbur.”

Or, as Yardman Bender said: “Our job is to make people happy.”

Wilbur on the way to breakfast

Wilbur on the way to breakfast

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